Mayor makes farewell tour

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Brundidge Rotary Club was the first stop on Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford’s “farewell tour.”

Lunsford was the guest speaker for the Brundidge Rotary Club Wednesday. Much like The Beatles did on their farewell tour, Lunsford said he will make several stops on his tour and will address each audience differently.

Lunsford has served Troy as its mayor since 1982 but chose not to seek re-election in 2012.

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During Lunsford’s first term, the city’s budget exceeded $10 million for the first time.

“If I were talking to the Troy Rotary Club, I would tell them that this year’s budget was $56 million and we did that by growing our tax base,” Lunsford said.

But Lunsford was speaking to the Brundidge Rotarians and his message to them was that by working together, the people of Pike County can continue to accomplish great things.

The mayor used the Walmart Distribution Center project as an example.

“We all know that Wiley Lott (Brundidge native and then executive with Walmart) was instrumental in bringing the distribution center to Brundidge,” Lunsford said. “But a whole team of local players met with Walmart officials to answer questions about the county. That was the first example of all of us coming together, as a county, to make a formal presentation. And, it worked.”

Lunsford said Brundidge is a city of good fortune because of good decisions that have been made by its administrators.

He mention “Boss Hog,” as the late Brundidge mayor and councilmember, Robert E. Barr was affectionately called, as a leader with exceptional foresight.

“The Brundidge wastewater treatment plant put Brundidge in a position as a target market for the food industry,” Lunsford said. “

Lunsford stressed the importance of looking at the big picture when making decisions that affect a community.

“We’ve got to work together to make Pike County the best that it can be,” he said. “It’s going to take everyone. If we think that we can do it as Democrats or as Republicans we’re wrong. It going to take us coming together and working together as a team to make it happen.”

Lunsford was questioned as to what his plans are when he leaves the mayor’s office. He laughingly said he’s going to get a briefcase.

“I can’t quit,” Lunsford said. “I’ll stay busy working with economic development and do some consulting.”

In response to how, after 30 years, he will adapt to not being called mayor, Lunsford said that he’s going to the courthouse and change his first name to Mayor.

“So, you can still call me Mayor,” he said, laughing.